Google takes on Amazon and Facebook with connected video device

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

The Portal and the much larger and more maneuverable Portal+ have spent some extra time in development since Business Insider first reported that development had begun in 2017.

Yesterday, Facebook debuted a new in-home video chat smart speaker called Portal - the social network's first major hardware product.

But it's unclear if people will open their homes to an internet-connected camera sold by a company with a questionable track record on protecting user privacy. The firm estimated that device makers shipped almost 12 million smart speakers in Q2 2018, about 8 million more than a year ago.

Privacy as usual, is always the biggest issue when it comes to Facebook and its services/products, but the company says certain things were taking into considering while building Portal. The smaller of the pair, Portal, comes with a price tag of $199, has a 10-inch screen, and looks very similar to the Amazon Echo Show and third-party Google Assistant smart screens.

"Portal makes video calling easier and more like hanging out, while a widescreen display lets you enjoy every moment together", Facebook said in the announcement yesterday.

"This is going to gain [Facebook] not only a place in the smart home, but also data they may not have been able to collect before or understand before", ABI Research analyst Jonathan Collins said.

The Portal's incorporate augmented reality (AR) effects which are powered by Spark AR platform.

A statement from the company said that Portal will not "listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls" and added that the calls are secure in transit due to Messenger's encryption.

The integrated camera can automatically zoom out to include a second person or can follow a certain individual who is walking around. But it doesn't have a facial recognition feature, according to Facebook. Facebook isn't pre-loading its social networking app or image-messaging app Instagram on Portal, emphasizing the device's role in more active communications instead of passive browsing.

He did, however, say what many of us are thinking- at the end of the night, it probably needs to be stored safely away in a soundproof closet. That launch was postponed in lieu of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last month, it announced an attacker gained the ability to take over 50 million user accounts because of software flaws. Facebook will be faced with the steep obstacle of once again having to build consumer trust if they want its Portal line to be successful and compete with industry leaders.

Facebook has moved to quickly allay security fears, saying that by keeping the processes on the actual device rather than in the cloud, the risk of hacking is lower than with a smartphone or computer. You have to sacrifice one of your arms. The setup is simple- you put it on a table, counter, or wherever you'd like and connect to Facebook.